Teachers work hard to earn their bachelor degrees and receive their teacher certifications. Often, because of the semester of student teaching required, teachers have had to go to college longer than those receiving other degrees. In order to go into certain jobs in the education field or in order to increase their possible salary range, many teachers often decide to go even further and get degrees from masters in education programs. What should these certified teachers look for when making decisions about education masters programs? With all the choices available these days, deciding on the best schools for masters in education can seem daunting.
The first thing the prospective student must decide is why they want to get the degree. Is it so that they can become a school administrator at some point? Or is it so that they feel called to work with special needs children? Maybe they want to help develop curriculum?
Whatever the reason for the degree, knowing that reason is the first step to whittling down the choice of masters in education schools. The teacher can then decide which degree would best help them to reach the goal they desire. Once the degree has been determined, then they can turn their attention to looking at masters in education programs which offer that degree. This will help eliminate any program which doesn’t offer it so they can concentrate on finding the best schools for masters in education for their needs.
So what should this prospective graduate student look for in education masters programs? There are many factors which must be considered: cost, location, and accreditation are the primary ones. Most of the applicants for master’s degree programs are also full-time teachers. Whatever program the teacher looks at, it must be flexible enough to work around the hours the teacher must spend at their job.
Online masters in education programs have been lifesavers for more and more teachers in just this situation. Online classes are more flexible than traditional schooling. This works well for adult students who also have full-time jobs and families. They also take less time out of the day or week. There’s no commute time and no need for finding a parking place. Additionally, online masters degree programs in education will help the teacher achieve their goals just as well as one from a traditional program.
However, as with any online education program, a prospective student needs to “do their homework.” Check the accreditation of any school which offers online education masters programs. Some brick and mortar universities offer online classes, but other online courses are offered by institutions that only operate online. While some of these are perfectly legitimate and are fully accredited, make sure this is the case before signing up for classes or paying any fees.
Once the teacher has found some programs that offer the specific degree they are wanting, it’s time to narrow down the choices. Cost is always an important factor in deciding on masters in education schools. Some universities that offer online masters degree programs in education still charge out-of-state tuition for these classes. Others have a flat fee for online classes, no matter where the student lives. The costs for these education masters programs can vary greatly. In addition, some online education masters programs lock in their tuition rates at the level they were when the student first enrolls in the program.
Financial aid can also vary widely. Some online masters in education programs have extensive financial aid programs, especially for accredited teachers. Some have more than others. The best schools for masters in education will help the people who are dedicated to teaching find a way to get that graduate degree.
Another thing to consider is the availability of online classes that online masters degree programs in education offer. Some masters in education programs offer some of their classes online, while others must be taken on campus or students must come to campus sometimes for labs. For anyone who doesn’t live close to these masters in education schools, this won’t be feasible. Also, some students prefer to take a heavier load in the summer while school is out. If this is an attractive option, check with the prospective online masters in education programs to see if they have enough classes available in the summer to do this.
Another aspect of online education masters programs to keep in mind is their format. Some of them have classes that are structured like traditional college classes, with a 15 week semester. Others offer a block scheduling format where the student takes fewer classes at a time but they only last five or six weeks. If you have a preference for one or the other, keep this in mind when making the final decision about a school.